Today on The Overweight Bookshelf I am so pleased to host multi-genre published author, Carla Laureano. Carla Laureano is the RITA® Award-winning author of contemporary inspirational romance and Celtic fantasy (as C.E. Laureano). A graduate of Pepperdine University, she worked as a sales and marketing executive for nearly a decade before leaving corporate life behind to write fiction full-time. She currently lives in Denver with her husband and two sons, where she writes during the day and cooks things at night.
What No One Tells You about Traditional Publishing
From the outside, the traditional publishing world looks like a vast, murky labyrinth with hazards ready to snare the unwary writer the minute they step foot inside. Authors begin to wonder if it’s worth the effort; many turn to self-publishing, where the process is far more transparent. Readers wonder why it takes so long to get a new book from their favorite authors—are they just sitting around eating bonbons all day? (I feel you; that year between books can feel like a lifetime too, but I promise we aren’t eating bonbons. Usually.)
As inscrutable as traditional publishing can seem, behind the scenes is a completely different world you’re not likely to hear much about. So let’s take a look at the reality behind some of the myths that surround traditional publishing.
Myth #1: Traditional publishing is unnecessarily slow.
Publishing moves at a glacial pace, there’s no doubt about that. From the time an author turns in a book, it can take anywhere from nine to eighteen months to get it to market. Part of this has to do with the fact that the publisher (usually the managing editor or editorial director) has to make sure they aren’t releasing books that are too similar or ones that will compete with each other in the same catalog quarter, which means a game of editorial musical chairs.
More importantly, the process of getting a book completed takes time. My books go through no fewer than five rounds of editorial review—three of which I see, and two of which happen behind the scenes. By the time the book gets to the reader it’s as perfect as we can make it, and numerous sets of eyes have pored over every period and apostrophe. This process begins far in advance of release dates, because advance reader copies are sent out months ahead of publication. At the same time, there’s a cover to be designed, back cover copy to be written, marketing to be discussed, and advertising to be placed. Considering this happens times the number of books released in a given quarter, I’m always impressed that the process runs as smoothly as it does.
Myth #2: Editors are mean ogres that like to crush people’s dreams.
It can be easy for writers to believe this myth when they’ve received another rejection. The truth is, editors are not ogres at all. They are book people who truly love the written word and delight in an engrossing story. They are also businesspeople who know they’re going to have to be the champion for this book from their first read to the final printing and beyond. Not only do they have to like the story, but they have to convince their colleagues (editorial, management, and sales and marketing) that it’s going to be successful. An editor wants her book to succeed. She knows how difficult it is to launch a book, so she’s going to choose one that she personally loves and she knows she can sell to fellow staff, salespeople, and readers.
Myth #3: Making a bestseller is a just matter of plugging the pieces into a proven formula.
Good publishers most definitely have a series of tools they use to give a book a good launch into the world. They are familiar with outlets that are friendly to certain genres and they keep track of ROI (return on investment) for their marketing and advertising expenses. But much of the time, a bestseller takes the publisher and the author by surprise. It’s difficult to know how a book is going to hit the reading public. Some of our biggest sellers were sleeper hits—books that started out slow and then became cultural phenomena. Were those books better than everything else published at the same time? Hard to tell. What they had was an intangible appeal that just kept growing. Fans latched on to the story, shared amongst themselves, and turned what could have been a modest success into a blockbuster.
The lesson for authors is that the only control you have over the success of a book is to write the best one you possibly can. The lesson for readers is that if you love an author or a book, tell everyone you know about it, blog about it, tweet about it, shove your copy into the hands of a friend. You’re the one who can make a book go big, and you have control over whether that author writes more books in the future. So spread the word!
So now I have questions for you: Does the truth behind any of these myths surprise you? What questions do you have about the publishing world, as either a reader or a writer?
Find Carla Online
Don’t miss Carla’s new release, The Saturday Night Supper Club.
Denver chef Rachel Bishop has accomplished everything she’s dreamed and some things she never dared hope, like winning a James Beard Award and heading up her own fine-dining restaurant. But when a targeted smear campaign causes her to be pushed out of the business by her partners, she vows to do whatever it takes to get her life back . . . even if that means joining forces with the man who inadvertently set the disaster in motion.
Essayist Alex Kanin never imagined his pointed editorial would go viral. Ironically, his attempt to highlight the pitfalls of online criticism has the opposite effect: it revives his own flagging career by destroying that of a perfect stranger. Plagued by guilt-fueled writer’s block, Alex vows to do whatever he can to repair the damage. He just doesn’t expect his interest in the beautiful chef to turn personal.
Alex agrees to help rebuild Rachel’s tarnished image by offering his connections and his home to host an exclusive pop-up dinner party targeted to Denver’s most influential citizens: the Saturday Night Supper Club. As they work together to make the project a success, Rachel begins to realize Alex is not the unfeeling opportunist she once thought he was, and that perhaps there’s life—and love—outside the pressure-cooker of her chosen career. But can she give up her lifelong goals without losing her identity as well?
Enter here to win a copy!